By Tanya White, Mita Desai and Malcom John
92% of charity trustees are white, older, and have above average income and education. To create diverse, resilient boards, this needs to change.
Malcolm John, Founder of Action for Trustee Racial Diversity and Mita Desai, Programme Manager at Young Trustees Movement have shared ten top tips for young Black and Asian people who are thinking about becoming a trustees:
- Think really carefully about why you want to be a trustee, i.e a passion for the cause, desire to contribute your skills and experience to your local community, career development etc
- Be clear what skills and experience you’re offering them and what they can offer you
- Seek external advice and guidance before applying, e.g. a buddy, mentor, shadowing or trustee preparation programme
- Do your research on the charity; check out its commitment to diversity and inclusion from its website, its annual report and talking to the Chair and the CEO
- Be clear about the time commitment and your capacity to meet it
- Don’t apply if you have doubts as to whether the charity is quite right for you unless you’re sure that up for whatever challenge it might pose. It is not your responsibility to hold the burden of creating inclusive spaces, however, it is your choice. Choose what is right for you.
- Enjoy, embrace and take learning from the process and your experience.
- Create a plan of how you will become a trustee. You can use Getting On Board’s brilliant guide to help.
- Start training to be a trustee from now! Develop your muscle of curiosity by reading and talking about the latest charity sector trends/news. Ask yourself – “If I were a trustee for X charity, what questions would I be asking?”
- Don’t internalise structural barriers. What is normal in charity governance is not okay. This leaves many current and aspiring trustees, who are on the shape end of exclusion, to feel like they are not good enough. Anchor yourself in what you (and every trustee) deserves to feel safe and have the resources to thrive on board. Attend the Young Trustees Movement’s free workshop to help you with this.
- Be supported by a network of peers!
It is only by bringing new voices and ideas into the sector that charities can reach their full potential.